Landlord Credit Bureau

Legal Framework Canada

Legal Framework Canada

Summary1
 

Landlord Credit Bureau (“LCB”) is a credit and consumer reporting agency (commonly known as a Credit Bureau). LCB enables landlords and property managers of all sizes and tenants, to contribute rental history and establish verified LCB Tenant Records through one of our data contributors (e.g. FrontLobby.com).

LCB enables landlords and property managers to access Tenant Records for tenancy screening purposes through one of our resellers (e.g. FrontLobby.com).

LCB enables tenants to view their Tenant Record for free and dispute any inaccurate information, which LCB will then investigate.

LCB operates in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario.

LCB’s constant goal is consumer protection and compliance. Please ensure information reported to LCB is 100% accurate. Since LCB’s inception, we are proud to share that there have not been any successful complaints that an individual’s information has been misused filed against LCB or any landlord or tenant using LCB. LCB handles the protection of all individuals and the security and accuracy of information with the utmost priority. Misuse will not be tolerated.

The Details
 

Responsible Tenants Benefit From Rent Reporting to LCB:

LCB provides significant benefits for tenants. Tenants can finally create a verified Tenant Record to help them receive priority for future housing. Even if a tenant is having financial difficulty, as long as they communicate with their landlord and create a reasonable payment plan, they can still receive the same benefits.

Rent is many consumers’ largest single monthly payment, but to their detriment rarely benefits them:

  1. For tenants with poor credit, but a history of always paying rent, they find it harder to secure housing. LCB helps them to show potential landlords that despite a low credit score, they are a responsible tenant and should be rented to.
  2. Relevant to COVID-19 and beyond, LCB allows rent deferral agreements and payment plans to be registered which then enables tenants to create a positive tenant record that they can use when applying to rent in the future despite unexpected financial difficulties.
  3. From a housing supply and quality standpoint, LCB helps increase the supply and quality of rental housing for responsible tenants. LCB substantially reduces the risk and cost of delinquent tenants which encourages more rental housing to be created, enables smaller landlords to afford to continue providing rental housing (i.e. basement suites), and enables all landlords to afford more repairs & improvements and even reduced rent prices. The small percentage of individuals who are intentionally delinquent, cost the rental housing industry over $3 Billion per year in Canada which impacts the housing supply for everyone. 

    It is only tenants who choose to be delinquent and choose to not communicate with their landlord that will find there is accountability and consequences for such choices and for the problems they cause that negatively impact landlords and other tenants.

    LCB’s goal is for all parties to fulfill their responsibilities, act responsibly and for both landlords and tenants to benefit as a result


Landlords May Report To LCB:

In Canada, it is well established practice for landlords to report debts to collection agencies and share that information with Credit Bureaus, such as Equifax and TransUnion for the purpose of collecting debts and mitigating fraud. Reporting to Credit Bureaus commonly occurs indirectly through collection agencies or directly by large landlords. LCB accepts information from landlords of all sizes who report through one of our data contributors (e.g. FrontLobby.com).

Applicable credit reporting, consumer protection and privacy legislation enables landlords to report to Credit Bureaus: a) with consent; b) through implicit consent; or c) without consent when they are doing so for an approved purpose such as for the purpose of collecting a debt owed to them, for investigation of a breach of an agreement or a law, or to detect or suppress or prevent fraud.

Reporting Agencies are subject to provincial and federal legislation. LCB complies with, and in several instances exceeds, the requirements under that legislation.

LCB does not maintain any blacklists. As a Credit Bureau, LCB collects and reports both positive and negative information, provides individuals free access to their records, and provides several dispute mechanisms. Reporting rental history to “tenant lists” or to other companies which are not a Credit Bureau with the requisite consumer protections, is likely illegal and may create personal liability.

Landlords May Access Tenant Records From LCB:

The ability for housing providers to screen their applicants for rental history, credit and tenancy-worthiness and the practice of providing rental history to other landlords is recognized as an accepted and established practice throughout the industry.

With consent, landlords are entitled to view LCB Tenant Records in connection with the tenant wanting to enter into or renew a tenancy agreement. Landlords must have consent from the tenant before viewing such information.

LCB does not directly provide LCB Tenant Records to landlords and property managers, but they may be accessed through one of our resellers (e.g. FrontLobby.com).

Accuracy Of Data:

Prior to accepting data, LCB requires data contributors to be credentialled including but not limited to verifying their identities and legitimate purpose. Data contributors contractually agree to only report factual information and to only use LCB for a valid purpose, or risk personal liability.

LCB maintains a viewable record of anyone who contributes or views data.

Other Protections For Tenants:

In addition to the preceding protections, LCB proactively endeavours to notify tenants of negative information, provides free access to review records, and if information is disputed, LCB will then investigate.

  • Tenants are given the opportunity to provide a statement which can be saved on their Tenant Record.
  •  Consumers have a right to request the disclosure of and dispute information that LCB holds pertaining to the consumer.

Requests and disputes can be made by:

o Emailing support@landlordcreditbureau.com;
o Mailing a request to:
Attention Legal & Privacy,
19567 Fraser Hwy, Box 361,
Surrey, B.C. V3S 9A4;
o You can also request a call back via either method.

  • A landlord or property manager is required to have written consent from the consumer before requesting or obtaining a LCB Tenant Record. If the consumer requests, the landlord or property manager must inform the consumer of the name and address of LCB.
  • If a LCB Tenant Record wholly or partly informs a decision to deny the consumer’s application for tenancy, the recipient landlord or property manager must notify the consumer of that fact. If the consumer requests, the landlord or property manager must inform the consumer of the name and address of LCB.
  • If unfavorable personal information is received by LCB (Personal information is information other than credit information about a consumer’s character, reputation, health, physical or personal characteristics or mode of living or about any other matter concerning the consumer), LCB will make reasonable efforts to corroborate the evidence on which the personal information is based, and if the evidence cannot be corroborated, the lack of corroboration will be noted on the LCB Tenant Record.
  •  Legislation prohibits persons from knowingly supplying false or misleading information to LCB.

Clauses to Add To All Application and Lease Templates

 


LCB recommends adding the clauses below to all Applications for Tenancy and Lease templates:

Specific Legislation & Guidance For Landlords Reporting to Credit Bureaus
 


Examples of tenants being convicted of fraud for not paying their rent:


Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

  • Can a landlord put my name on a “bad tenant” list?


    “Our office has found that landlords do not have the right to disclose information such as a poor payment history to an unregulated or ad hoc ‘bad tenants list.”
    However, formal and regulated mechanisms, such as credit agencies, may be notified in appropriate circumstances.”

    https://www.priv.gc.ca/en/privacy-topics/landlords-and-tenants/privacy-in-the-landlord-and-tenant-relationship/

  • Don’t shame ‘bad’ tenants


    “Despite best efforts, a rental relationship may not go smoothly. From your perspective, the tenant may have been disruptive or damaged the unit, had a poor payment history, or other factors. However, this does not give you the right to disclose this information by, for instance, contributing to an unregulated ‘bad tenants list.’ Formal and regulated mechanisms, such as credit agencies, may be notified in appropriate circumstances; however, ‘vigilante’ actions are seldom, if ever, permitted by law.”

    https://www.priv.gc.ca/en/privacy-topics/landlords-and-tenants/02_05_d_66_tips/

  • Debt collection is not a blank cheque for disclosure


    “Lastly, there are certain exceptions to PIPEDA’s consent requirements for disclosure of personal information to pursue a debt. It is important to keep in mind that these are limited to, among other factors, purposes that a reasonable person would consider appropriate under the circumstances. For instance, in past investigations our Office has found broad disclosure of detailed information about an outstanding debt to an individual’s family members, co-workers or on social media, to be wholly inappropriate.”

    https://www.priv.gc.ca/en/privacy-topics/landlords-and-tenants/02_05_d_66_tips/

For Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and the Yukon:

  • If the tenant has given consent, that is all that is required (Note: LCB recommends adding the Lease clauses to all Applications for Tenancy and Lease templates).
  • If the tenant has not given consent, the Federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”) enables landlords to still report for certain purposes:
  • Disclosure is allowed without the tenant’s knowledge or consent pursuant to:
    • Section 7(3)(b) for the purpose of collecting a debt owed by the individual to the organization;
    • Section 7(3)(d.1) for the purposes of investigating a breach of an agreement or a contravention of the laws of Canada or a province that has been, is being or is about to be committed;
    • Section 7(3)(d.2) made to another organization and is reasonable for the purposes of detecting or suppressing fraud or of preventing fraud that is likely to be committed.
    • Link to the Act: Link to the Act: Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act
  • Many provinces do not require LCB to be provincially registered.
  • LCB is registered in Ontario as a consumer reporting agency under 2642985 Ontario Inc. To see the registration go to: Ontario Consumer Reporting Agencies

For British Columbia:

  • If the tenant has given consent, that is all that is required (Note: LCB recommends adding the LCB clauses to all Applications for Tenancy and Lease templates).
  • If LandlordBC’s template “Application for Tenancy” was used, then consent may already have been given pursuant to Section E in that application (Note: LCB still recommends adding the LCB clauses to all Applications for Tenancy and Lease templates).
  • If the tenant has not given consent, the B.C. Personal Information Protection Act (“PIPA”) enables landlords to still report for certain purposes:
  • Disclosure is allowed without the tenant’s consent pursuant to:
    • Section 18(1)(c) it is reasonable to expect that the disclosure with the consent of the individual would compromise an investigation or proceeding and the disclosure is reasonable for purposes related to an investigation or a proceeding;
      • Note: Section 1 defines “investigation” to mean an investigation related to (a) a breach of an agreement, (b)a contravention of an enactment of Canada or a province, (c) a circumstance or conduct that may result in a remedy or relief being available under an enactment, under the common law or in equity, or (d) the prevention of fraud if it is reasonable to believe that the breach, contravention, circumstance, conduct, or fraud in question may occur or may have occurred;
    • Section 18(1)(g) the disclosure is necessary in order to collect a debt owed to the organization;
    • Section 18(2); (3); and (4) may also apply if the above two sections do not.
    • Link to the Act: Personal Information Protection Act
  • Monetary orders from the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) are NOT REQUIRED to report to LCB:
    • RTB Decision October 14, 2011: Landlord sent a debt to a collection agency without first establishing an entitlement to recover that amount by way of obtaining a Monetary Order. Such conduct does not negate the tenant’s obligation to pay the landlord. The landlords’ actions, with respect to sending the debt to a collection agency is not a violation of the Residential Tenancy Act, Residential Tenancy Regulations or tenancy agreement. Therefore, any claims related to such conduct fall outside the jurisdiction of the Residential Tenancy Act and its authority to resolve such a dispute. Dispute Resolution Services – Decision1698
    • RTB Decision November 8, 2016: Landlord sent tenant’s debt to a collection agency and did not file any Application for Dispute Resolution with the RTB nor get a monetary order. Tenant complained. The tenant’s application was refused pursuant to section 59(5)(a) of the Residential Tenancy Act because the tenant’s application did not disclose a dispute that may be determined under the Act. Dispute Resolution Services – Decision6592
    • RTB Decision March 8, 2019: Landlord sent tenant’s debt to a collection agency. Tenant complained the Landlord didn’t have a monetary order. Landlord did not apply for a monetary order and thus the RTB did not issue a monetary award in regards to this tenancy. As the Branch was not involved in this matter at any point and did not issue the monetary order, they dismissed the application in its entirety without leave to reapply. Section 9.1(1) of the Residential Tenancy Act. Dispute Resolution Services – Decision6370

For Alberta:

  • If the tenant has given consent, that is all that is required (Note: LCB recommends adding the LCB clauses to all Applications for Tenancy and Lease templates).
  • If the tenant has not given consent, the Alberta Personal Information Protection Act (“PIPA”) enables landlords to still report for certain purposes:
  • Disclosure is allowed without the tenant’s consent pursuant to:
    • Section 20(i) the disclosure of the information is necessary in order to collect a debt owed to the organization
    • Section 20(m) the disclosure of the information is reasonable for the purposes of an investigation or a legal proceeding;
    • Section 20(n) the disclosure of the information is for the purposes of protecting against, or for the prevention, detection or suppression of, fraud, and the information is disclosed to or by (i) an organization that is permitted or otherwise empowered or recognized to carry out any of those purposes (i.e. a reporting agency such as LCB).
    • Link to the Act: Personal Information Protection

For Quebec:

  • LCB does not currently operate in Quebec.

1 Disclaimer: The information contained herein does not constitute, and is not intended to constitute, legal advice. This information is for general information purposes only. Information may not be the most up-to-date or address local requirements (e.g., city or province). This document contains third party links, LCB is not responsible for the content on such third-party websites.